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SOUTH BEACH: MISSION VIEJO

Boy, 1 1/2, Clings to Life After Pool Rescue

June 23, 1998|STEVE CARNEY

An 18-month-old boy remained in very critical condition Monday evening, the day after he was pulled from a spa where he was discovered floating face-down, an Orange County Fire Authority spokesman said.

The boy was found in the water at his home, in the 26000 block of Carmenita Lane, about 5:30 p.m., Fire Capt. Scott Brown said. When he was pulled out, he had no pulse and was not breathing, and rescuers estimated he had been in the water about five minutes, Brown said.

After paramedics performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, they took the boy to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo in critical condition, Brown said.

"People need to realize pools and children are a deadly mix," he said.

"These tragedies will occur over and over again until people understand. It's 100% preventable."

He said adults need to remember that "children drown without a sound." Their heads are out of proportion to their bodies, so when top-heavy toddlers fall into the water, they go down head-first and have no chance to yell for help, Brown said.

Officials stress that adults need to constantly watch children around the water because it takes only seconds for a child to fall in and drown, and only seconds for a distracted adult to miss preventing a tragedy, officials say.

In addition, residents should make sure they have barriers to their backyard pools or spas, such as covers or gates that they keep locked.

And during pool or lakeside gatherings that include children, Brown recommends adults designate a "water watcher," a person whose sole job is to make sure no children fall into the water.

Drowning-prevention information is available at the Fire Authority's Web site, www.ocfa.org, or by calling the authority at (714) 744-0496.

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